A Caltech Library Service

Stability of motor representations after paralysis

Guan, Charles and Aflalo, Tyson and Zhang, Carey Y. and Amoruso, Elena and Rosario, Emily R. and Pouratian, Nader and Andersen, Richard A. (2022) Stability of motor representations after paralysis. eLife, 11 . Art. No. 74478. ISSN 2050-084X. PMCID PMC9555862. doi:10.7554/elife.74478.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Neural plasticity allows us to learn skills and incorporate new experiences. What happens when our lived experiences fundamentally change, such as after a severe injury? To address this question, we analyzed intracortical population activity in the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) of a tetraplegic adult as she controlled a virtual hand through a brain–computer interface (BCI). By attempting to move her fingers, she could accurately drive the corresponding virtual fingers. Neural activity during finger movements exhibited robust representational structure similar to fMRI recordings of able-bodied individuals’ motor cortex, which is known to reflect able-bodied usage patterns. The finger representational structure was consistent throughout multiple sessions, even though the structure contributed to BCI decoding errors. Within individual BCI movements, the representational structure was dynamic, first resembling muscle activation patterns and then resembling the anticipated sensory consequences. Our results reveal that motor representations in PPC reflect able-bodied motor usage patterns even after paralysis, and BCIs can re-engage these stable representations to restore lost motor functions.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Guan, Charles0000-0002-8040-8844
Aflalo, Tyson0000-0002-0101-2455
Zhang, Carey Y.0000-0001-9867-4510
Rosario, Emily R.0000-0002-1540-197X
Pouratian, Nader0000-0002-0426-3241
Andersen, Richard A.0000-0002-7947-0472
Additional Information:Funding: National Eye Institute (R01EY015545), Charles Guan, Richard A Andersen. National Eye Institute (UG1EY032039). Charles Guan. Richard A Andersen. Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Brain-machine Interface Center at Caltech, Tyson Aflalo, Richard A Andersen. Boswell Foundation, Richard A Andersen. Amazon AI4Science Fellowship, Charles Guan. The funders had no role in study design, data collection, and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication. We thank NS for her dedicated participation in the study. Kelsie Pejsa and Viktor Scherbatyuk for administrative and technical assistance. Paulina Kieliba and Tamar Makin for sharing their fMRI data. Tamar Makin and Whitney Griggs for their helpful feedback on the manuscript. Jörn Diedrichsen and Spencer Arbuckle for sharing their fMRI data and models.
Group:Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for NeuroscienceUNSPECIFIED
James G. Boswell FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Amazon AI4Science FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
PubMed Central ID:PMC9555862
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20221024-114419100.1
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:117534
Deposited By: Research Services Depository
Deposited On:28 Oct 2022 15:59
Last Modified:29 Oct 2022 15:21

Repository Staff Only: item control page